My Gentle Harp by Thomas Moore
My gentle Harp, once more I waken
The sweetness of thy slumbering strain;
In tears our last farewell was taken,
And now in tears we meet again.
No light of joy hath o’er thee broken,
But, like those harps whose heavenly skill
Of slavery, dark as thine, hath spoken,
Thou hang’st upon the willows still.
And yet, since last thy chord resounded,
An hour of peace and triumph came,
And many an ardent bosom bounded
With hopes – that now are turn’d to shame.
Yet even then, while Peace was singing
Her halcyon song o’er land and sea,
Though joy and hope to others bringing,
She only brought new tears to thee.
Then, who can ask for notes of pleasure,
My drooping Harp, from chords like thine?
Alas, the lark’s gay morning measure
As ill would suit the swan’s decline!
Or how shall I, who love, who bless thee,
Invoke thy breath for Freedom’s strains,
When even the wreaths in which I dress thee
Are sadly mix’d – half flowers, half chains?
But come – if yet thy frame can borrow
One breath of joy, oh, breathe for me,
And show the world, in chains and sorrow,
How sweet thy music still can be;
How gaily, even ‘mid gloom surrounding,
Thou yet canst wake at pleasure’s thrill —
Like Memnon’s broken image sounding,
‘Mid desolation tunefull still!
King David Playing the Harp by Gerrit van Honthorst (1590 – 1656)